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Critical Humanitarian Aid Arriving in Iraq - 2003-03-31


Food and water supplies have become critical for the Iraqi people. Most Iraqis depended on government rations before the war. Since the fighting started, Carol Pearson reports that food aid has been slow in coming and the distribution has been chaotic.

In recent days we’ve seen pictures like these, where Iraqis are mobbing trucks delivering food and water, and where attempts by organizers to distribute the aid quickly disintegrates into chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER
“Stay there. Get back.”

In places like Umm Qasr, clean water is almost non-existent. Local water towers supplying the region were hit in bombing raids last week.

On Friday, the first military relief aid for Iraqi civilians arrived on the British supply ship the Sir Galahad.

But it is unclear when those supplies will actually reach the people.

British military officials will soon enter Iraqi villages to assess the need.

Sunday the UN and other relief agencies criticized the way food was being distributed, that it wasn’t going to the most needy, that it wasn’t getting to hospitals, that food delivered from the back of a truck does not ensure that it will not be sold or hoarded.

The United Nations World Food program estimates that most Iraqis will run out of food in May.

It has asked the United States to provide $1.3 billion of the 2.2 billion dollars it estimates is needed for what could be the biggest humanitarian aid operation in history.

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